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Myra Melford-Be Bread: The Image of Your Body

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Myra Melford’s newest release was actually recorded in 2003, but time has done nothing to diminish the impact of this contemplative, introspective work. Her band’s moniker and the titles of eight tracks come from phrases in a poem by the Sufi mystic poet Rumi, which also grants the album its name. Recited by guitarist Brandon Ross in the title track, it contains a message of self-realization that parallels the way the group explores and breathes life into Melford’s compositions.

Ross appears on six tracks while Cuong Vu (trumpet, electronics) plays on the remainder. With Stomu Takeishi (bass guitar) and Elliot Humberto Kavee (drums) filling out the band, the music blends acoustic and electronic instruments. Ross plays banjo as often as guitar, the former evoking a more worldly sound that isn’t often associated with the skin box. Melford, too, doubles on harmonium, which often sounds like an accordion and fuses different musical worlds when pared with Ross’ guitar squalls or Vu’s trumpet blasts. “To the Roof” shows why Melford continues to be a captivating, original voice: In 11 minutes, the piece begins with solo piano and moves through a flowing, rubato composition that sounds both lyrical and raw.